glass dragons on strings
eggs in ancient patterns like things on the walls of caves
bracelets of beads, leather and bone
golden bowls like Midas-touched baths
castles and apples on boxes and stools
amphibians with golden crowns and sapphire eyes
silken scarves twisting blue as the sea
You have come to this hall
as you suppose, to purchase beauty:
take it home in a paper bag
to put in a cupboard or hang on a wall.
But things here shift and hatch and grow,
peck out of their crackled wax-dyed shells.
Some things will never belong
this retired art teacher in a long orange dress
has painted appletrees on boxes,
cottages and castles on chairs.
Her shoes are silver slippers
the color of her curling hair.
She drinks water from a blue bottle
as two whistling peasants pick ripe apples for the Queen.
Here all around you
dolls with curious eyes peer out
from behind their maker’s skirts,
velvet frogs croak silently while above
a giantess binds dragonflies with gossamer thread.
And all along the pathways, echoing between the trees,
voices fall and rise, accompanied
by high thin whistles of small clay beasts and birds.
where the potter sits
bowls and teapots sprout like weeds.
His brown eyes vanish when he smiles at you.
Earth is under his nails
and in the patterns of his hands;
as he turns the wheel
the universe expands.
MFCP, July 19, 2006